This month, we caught up with Century 21 Real Estate sales associate, Cheryl Bare to learn about what it’s like to be one of our top female agents. From balancing two careers to expanding her network, Cheryl shared her experience and many pieces of valuable advice for any agent. Read on to see what she had to say.
CENTURY 21: Did you dream of becoming a real estate agent? If not, what led you to where you are today?
Cheryl: I did not dream of becoming a real estate sales associate. I dreamed of becoming a teacher. When I was a teacher, I wanted to earn some additional income so I became a real estate agent. I took the class and for 12 years was dual-careered as a teacher and real estate agent. After those 12 years, I decided to take the “risk” and take on real estate full time. It was one of the best decisions of my life.
CENTURY 21: Tell us about your work-life balance in the real estate industry.
Cheryl: In the beginning, balancing life and work was difficult. I would teach during the week and spend weekends on real estate appointments. I would miss my kid’s extracurricular activities. My husband would take them to and from activities. When my kids got older and were headed to college, it was much easier. As an agent, my schedule is never the same. Having the flexibility of making my own schedule made it easier to balance my life with work. I believe in living a healthy lifestyle, and having a routine. With each day being so different and changing so often (you do have to work around your clients), it’s nice to have set goals. It’s also important to find time for yourself. I owe much of my success to the fact that I love what I do, it doesn’t feel like “work.” I have a passion for it.
CENTURY 21: In your opinion, what are the advantages for a woman who chooses to become a Century 21 Real Estate agent?
Cheryl: Becoming a Century 21 Real Estate agent has been both professionally and personally fulfilling. CENTURY 21 is such a well-known and respected brand. I feel proud to introduce myself as part of such a successful company. One of the main advantages is that the Century 21 Real Estate name itself is highly respected.
CENTURY 21: How has the CENTURY 21 Brand supported you and helped you achieve your goals?
Cheryl: I have been with the CENTURY 21 Brand for almost 20 years. Century 21 Real Estate has allowed me to focus more on my clients by providing the necessary tools in lieu of me having to create tools. I can spend more hands-on time with my clients. It allows me to step into that leadership role and focus on guiding each client through important decisions during the process of buying or selling their home. I love working with buyers and sellers—from first time homebuyers to someone who is upsizing or downsizing, or just investing in real estate. Knowing they need my knowledge and services is satisfying in itself.
CENTURY 21: What women do you look up to in business and life?
Cheryl: Professionally, I can’t say I look up to one certain person. When I was making the decision to transition to real estate full time, I looked up to the top producing agents. I used what I learned from them to help shape the successful business I have today and to become the top agent I am today. To me, it was important to succeed in everything I tried. That leads me to who I look up to in my personal life…my mom. She has always let me dream. No matter what I aspired to be, she would support me. It could have been a crazy idea like owning my own McDonald’s or becoming a fashion model—she would always tell me she would support my passions. When I transitioned to real estate, it was no different.
CENTURY 21: What advice do you have for aspiring female Century 21 sales associate?
Cheryl: Starting off in real estate, it’s important to make sure you join a company that is willing and able to support you. At the CENTURY 21 Brand, you get both a supportive “family” and the tools to succeed. Websites are user friendly, training and classes keep you up to date on the latest trends (from technology to social media and everything in between). No matter how many transactions you do, without great support from your company, it’ll be impossible to grow.
Always do a great job with every client. The deals may be few and far between starting off, but building your business starts with the clients. If you have satisfied clients, they will continue to use you for their future needs and refer you to friends/family. Over 85% of my business is repeat business or someone who has been referred by a past client of mine.
I may be biased, but as women, we have somewhat of an advantage. In my opinion, being a woman makes it easier to build lifelong professional relationships with your clients. Use that to your advantage. At the end of a deal, they won’t remember that you were sitting there at the settlement table as much as they will that you were “there” during the entire process. Communicate, be a leader, encourage and empower them. Be knowledgeable and confident. That relationship is what they’ll remember when they are buying/selling again.